Deion warned us all, plus last-minute fantasy football advice

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Did we … under-hype Deion’s team?

After nine months of chatter about Deion Sanders’ audacious experiment in Boulder, all that mattered in his Week 1 was this: He assembled the superior roster, plus the perfect offensive coordinator, the hyperdrive-tempo Sean Lewis. No wonder Sanders testified before, during, and after Colorado’s 45-42 win at No. 17 TCU. The Buffs were three-touchdown underdogs.

His son, Shedeur, threw a school-record 510 yards, while also flying onto Heisman lists is former No. 1 recruit Travis Hunter, who went full Football Ohtani with 120-plus total snaps, 119 receiving yards, and a crucial interception.

Remember, last year’s Colorado was one of the worst power-conference teams ever. One of the 2022 Buffaloes’ best results was a 25-point loss to TCU. (Also remember the Horned Frogs could’ve hired Deion, interviewing him in 2021. Hmm.)

Regardless of whether the Buffs finish 1-11 or 11-1, there’s a chance this (nearly) Big 12 brawl will go down as the season’s most entertaining game. Next week: Sanders has his home debut against perpetually reeling rival Nebraska.

Elsewhere yesterday:

And we’re not done! No. 5 LSU vs. No. 8 Florida State headlines the weekend’s remaining mini-schedule. The Pulse will be off tomorrow, so be sure you’re subscribed to Until Saturday for takeaways from that one.

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Jeffrey Becker / USA Today

Inside Info

Let’s overanalyze our fantasy teams this week

We still have four days until the NFL season starts, which means it’s time to really obsess over your fantasy rosters before getting shellacked. Lucky for you, I cornered our fantasy expert Nando Di Fino for some last-minute advice:

Help. I just drafted Jonathan Taylor and now he’s out for four weeks (at least). What do I do?

Nando: First, check your league’s IR rules and try to get Taylor on there as quickly as possible so you can take a shot on a free agent to bolster depth. I’m not sure anyone knows how this will turn out, but the good news is the first bye isn’t until Week 5, so you have four weeks of your full roster (sans Taylor) to choose from. Be happy this happened early, I guess? Also, I wouldn’t accept any trade offers for him just yet. You’re not going to get anything close to his potential value. Just sit, wait, and work on your bench depth.

Is there such a thing as a post-draft value bump? If so, who’s risen in the ranks this week?

Nando: This is strictly looking at NFFC (high stakes players) ADP, but Josh Jacobs is obviously flying up boards. I think Davante Adams is getting a bump, as well. Dalvin Cook is rising, James Cook jumped a lot a few weeks ago but has settled.

Who’s the player you’ve been drafting higher than anyone else?

Nando: I am so very much invested in Cook. This is a guy still in his prime joining a team with a veteran QB who has already surrounded himself with “his” offensive coordinator and two wide receivers. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Go get me Dalvin Cook” was uttered in some office somewhere in New Jersey. Breece Hall is coming back from a much more serious injury than people realize (there’s a fantastic writeup on it here) and could either be eased in or aggravate the injury. Or it might just be Aaron Rodgers wants Cook in there. However you slice it, his ADP of 85 meant I could grab him in the seventh round and end up with him on every team.

News to Know

ACC gets it done
The latest rash of college sports realignment is nearing a conclusion after Stanford, Cal and SMU were officially accepted into the ACC on Friday. All three will join the league for 2024-25. In the end, it was NC State that flipped and voted yes, Nicole Auerbach reports, while UNC voted against expansion. The move leaves the Pac-12 with just two schools, Washington State and Oregon State, whose options are slim after the AAC said it will no longer “look westward” for expansion. The Mountain West seems like the obvious choice — but is there a chance the “Pac-12” could be kept alive? Stewart Mandel weighed in.

U.S. Open in full swing
Coco Gauff is set for a fun round of 16 match against Caroline Wozniacki this afternoon at the U.S. Open, likely the story of the day. The 33-year-old Wozniacki — who was a finalist at this tournament in 2009 and 2014 — is mounting a comeback after retiring in 2020. Gauff, 19, is on a hot streak after winning the Citi Open and the Cincinnati Open, her first WTA 1000 title. On the men’s side today, Americans Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz will be in action, as will Novak Djokovic. 

More news:

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Erik Williams / USA Today

Pulse Picks

On his first swing as a major-leaguer, New York Yankees prospect Jasson Domínguez hit a Justin Verlander pitch the other way for a home run. Now comes the hard part, Brendan Kuty writes.

Larry Holder highlights nine NFL players who could be poised to continue their strong 2022 stretch runs, including Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett and New York Giants tight end Darren Waller.

Embattled Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales is the latest father to hide behind his daughters as he defends his actions. It’s an excuse that needs to stop, Meg Linehan writes in a strong column.

Odds and expert picks for today’s LSU-Florida State game.

Shohei Ohtani continues to hit for an out-of-contention Los Angeles Angels team and has yet to undergo Tommy John surgery. Why? Ken Rosenthal examines the possible reasons.

Who won the Premier League transfer window? Which big deal will backfire? Our experts gathered to make some early judgments.

In the first episode of The Athletic Women’s Basketball Show podcast, Zena Keita, Ben Pickman and Sabreena Merchant discuss who should be the WNBA MVP, Most Improved Player and team of the year.

(Top photo: Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)

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